President Trump’s January 20 executive order directed his administration to take steps to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Because ACA is law, the executive action itself cannot repeal the law. It essentially just made repealing ACA a priority.

Even though it’s on top of the administration’s to-do list, it doesn’t mean the undoing will be fast.

ACA Executive Order and Employers: The Bottom Line
Congressional Republicans are working frantically to repeal ACA but, again, frantic does not equal fast. To date, the Senate and House have passed a budget resolution to draft a repeal bill. This resolution is considered a budget procedure and does not need the president’s signature. The bill places a January 27 deadline for draft legislation to repeal ACA, or Obamacare. However, some legislators are describing the January 27 deadline as a placeholder, indicating that it could take longer. Once the legislation is drafted and passed by both the House and the Senate, it goes to the president for signature. However, if either chamber amends the bill, it can get complicated (read: take longer).

Meanwhile, the executive order also gave regulatory agencies direction to do what they can to expedite the law’s unraveling. Regulations can be changed, but these changes must follow the Administrative Procedures Act, which amongst other things, provides notice-and-comment periods for proposed regulations. This process normally takes months, sometimes years.

There are, however, other ways regulatory agencies can make changes without going through a lengthy process. For example, federal agencies could extend compliance and enforcement delays. Or agencies could be more lenient in interpreting a hardship that gives an individual an exemption from the mandate to be covered by insurance.

While there was chatter about replacing the law “simultaneously” prior to the administration shift, the immediate actions taken to date are focused on repeal efforts. Meanwhile, some legislators are continuing the push for replacement efforts.

Bottom line for employers: For now, ACA is still the law and employers must comply with its provisions.

Confused?  Don’t be.  The International Foundation is following all of this for you at ACA Central and ACA University and will keep you up to date with any actions you need to take.

Stacy Van Alstyne
Communications Director at the International Foundation


Stacy Van Alstyne, CEBS

Communications Director at the International Foundation  Favorite Foundation service/product: Personalized research services. The information the specialists come up with is gold—so much better than Google searches. Benefits related topics that get her attention: Given she works in PR, whatever is hot now. Retirement security—loves the chance to encourage people, especially those starting out, to save. Favorite Foundation conference/event moment: Meeting the President during the DOL’s Savers Summit which the Foundation helped produce; experiencing the power of 6,000 members in one room during Annual Conference’s opening session; trying not to cry during Scott Hamilton’s talk in 2012. Felt better when I saw a Teamster next to me sniffling. Personal Insight: What does Stacy do to unwind from the stresses of life in the PR pressure cooker? She paints cows. No, not paint on cows. Paintings of cows. As our resident “foodie,” Stacy’s lunch leftovers are a delicacy to her office mates.

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